Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face

Stop by this Saturday – UCSF cancer event, Taste for the Cure

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Taste for the Cure: A Taste of Science I'm excited to announce that I'm a part of UCSF event on Saturday, 10/1. I'll be showing Underwater Healer About Face to cancer survivors, fighters and supporters at the table . Please stop by and say hello!  Click here to find out! In Honor of Debby Hamolsky, RN, MS In the spirit of Debby’s decades of commitment to emotional and educational support for women with breast cancer, our panel topics will focus on personalized screening and treatment and living well during and after cancer. Between panels, join us for science demonstrations, healthy food tastings, and updates on trials and programs available through the Breast Care Center. This educational event is free and open to all. After nearly 30 years at UCSF, nurse coordinator Debby Hamolsky is leaving us for her next adventure. Please join the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center in honoring her legacy with a day exploring food, science, and breast...

Meet Sara, a breast cancer survivor

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I had an amazing day working with an adorable couple who wanted to celebrate their 10 anniversary under water and after that, I got to work with a beautiful breast cancer survivor, Sara. She was born and grew up in the south bay, and have been living in San Francisco most of her adult life, other than going to Berkeley for undergrad and UCLA for law school.She was iagnosed breast cancer in December 2015, when she was 38. After the photo shoot, she said, "I totally would recommend underwater portrait to other survivors! For survivors, I think it's an experience that can help you feel strong and confident again, especially because Erena was so warm and encouraging. It is a nice escape from thinking about cancer. It also is a moment where you can feel like you're in control and you're guiding the concept and deciding what to do, instead of being told what's happening to you and your body by doctors. It's a fun "appointment," instead of all the mandatory doctor appointments that poke and prod you. I think it also would be a great experience for anyone, not just survivors. It is such a unique, artistic experience and different way of seeing yourself." Thank you so much, Sara for being a part of this beautiful project to inspire other survivors and everyone in the world. Her underwater transformative images are stunning! I can't wait to show them to you...

Underwater Healer on NBC Bay Area

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Last week brain cancer survivor Maya and I were interviewed live by Robert Handa of NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) to discuss my Underwater Healer project and her transformation. It aired this past Sunday morning on Asian Pacific America and is finally online to share with you! The interview was incredibly fun and also full of surprises. When I arrived at the studio I discovered it was not a taping, but live! I was a little nervous, knowing there would be no editing if I stumbled my words, but this situation is exactly what I’ve been working towards in my public speaking practice. It was hard, but it turned out great in the end. In addition to the studio interview, NBC followed me to Maya’s underwater shoot to capture  behind-the-scenes of an underwater portrait shoot. I’m so happy I was able to share the entirety of an Underwater Healer project, from start to finish, with others. Maya was a complete pro as well - from her underwater portrait shoot to the interview on Asian Pacific America.  Thank you Maya for sharing your story and transformation with us all! I’m very thankful to Robert and NBC Bay Area for giving me the opportunity to share my Underwater Healer project with their viewers. Be sure to watch the interview below and share with your...

New Testimonial – Maya

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Last weekend was incredible! Brain cancer survivor Maya and I were interviewed live by Robert Handa of NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) to discuss my Underwater Healer project and her underwater transformation. It airs Sunday, June 12, at 5:30am on NBC Bay Area or 6pm on NBC's COZI TV! so please set your DVRs and stay tuned for the full recap next week! Until then, I am happy to share Maya’s testimonial with you! “I planned for this photoshoot by meeting with Erena first about a week before the shoot. The meeting was to get to know each other and discuss possible outfits to wear. Erena explained the types of clothes that would or wouldn't work in an underwater setting, so my chosen outfits needed to reflect those requirements. I knew I wanted to do a dress that would look beautiful under the water as it flowed through it, as well as bright color to reflect a happy emotion. The experience was amazing. It was so quiet and peaceful as if I was in my own world without any worries or problems that often come with being out in the real world. I felt so free in such a serene environment that it was almost like experiences nirvana. Erena was great with guiding me through the process and explaining how certain fabrics would act in the water. This allowed to me to base my positions in the water from her advice. Overall, it was such a relaxed shoot that took away...

Meet Survivor Maya!

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Maya, a Brain Cancer survivor I have some exciting news to share! Tomorrow I have scheduled an underwater photo shoot with cancer survivor Maya and NBC Bay Area (KNTV Channel 11) will be covering behind the scenes!

I’ll have more to share next week on the news coverage, so this week I really wanted to introduce you to Maya. She’s a very special gem and I am very excited for our portrait session tomorrow! Maya Sycip, Brain Cancer Survivor, San Francisco, 23 “The name of the tumor found in my brain was called a “Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma” and it was about the size of an apricot. Overall I was very healthy and played sports all throughout high school so I was very athletic. However, I did suffer from migraines, but just thought it was normal because my mom has them. I found out August 28, 2012 (the second day of my sophomore year at Loyola Marymount University) in my On-Campus housing apartments. That Tuesday morning, while I was still sleeping, I had a seizure and my roommates called 9-1-1. I was diagnosed when I was 19. (I) had emergency brain surgery the very next morning after I was diagnosed. On June 13, 2016, I will have officially been in remission for 3 years.” Why do you want to be involved in Underwater Healer About Face? “I’d like to be involved in the Underwater Healer About Face because I’ve never done anything like it before and I still have some healing to do of my own.  I’m hoping...

One FREE Underwater Portrait Couple Shoot this Saturday!



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Are you and your partner in, near, or can get to San Jose THIS Saturday (May 21st, 2016) at 11 AM? If so, I have one FREE underwater portrait session for ONE COUPLE! I'm looking for a couple who wants to improve the communication, connection, teamwork and confidence through underwater portrait photography. The underwater portrait session includes one Skype consultation, one 30 minute pool photo shoot and requires one short testimonial (written Q&A and video) after the fact. You'll receive one image and by agreeing to this free shoot the image will be used by me on my website and on my social media channels. This opportunity does not come around often, I would jump on this if I were in your shoes!

Unsure what you might be getting yourself into? Here is a testimonial from one couple that has participated in an underwater portrait shoot with me: How was the communications for the photo shoot and during the session? “Initially, we were going to just ‘go with the flow’. I did do some research on different poses as a back up (in case I felt unsure what to do with my body). It was a tremendous amount of teamwork and understanding to be able to carry (this) out underwater. So much multi-tasking goes on…. its a task to execute sometimes. However, its gets easier when someone shares the same goal and view.” Did you guys talk about the photo session after? What did you talk about?
 “How we enjoyed ourselves. It was true quality...

Celebrate Your Expected Bundle of Joy with a Unique Maternity Shoot!

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I’m blessed to have been able to meet many incredible cancer survivors with my Underwater Healer projects. I love seeing their transformations and hearing how much I’ve made a difference in their healing process. But what you may not know is that my most requested portrait shoot is actually maternity! I love underwater maternity photo shoots! There is something special about seeing the joy, love and excitement on the mother-to-be’s face. A new baby is the most exciting moment in a family’s history, and it be part of the celebration and documentation is an honor. I’m lucky to see firsthand a very special connection being made under the water - a feeling of floating that reflects what the bundle of joy is experiencing within the womb. Maternity client Kris had this to say about her underwater maternity shoot on Yelp: “Erena is great to work with. She captivates chemistry with grace and turns it into art, providing you with great shots of natural movement. Very patient to work with and really down to earth. I've always wanted to be a mermaid as a little girl swimming in my own pool, which is what sparked my interest and thoughts of this underwater maternity photo.  It’s definitely an experience because its not as easy as it looks, Erena is just a great photographer." If you, or someone you know, is expecting a new bundle of joy please consider booking an underwater maternity shoot! Not only is it a very unique experience, but proceeds of the...

Ready for My Close Up?!

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It’s been a very busy week! I am thrilled and overwhelmed with all the amazing projects and opportunities that have been coming my way this year. I can’t tell you everything just yet, but I am going to tease you with some details of one upcoming project that has me extra excited! Last week I had an introductory conversation with a lovely European couple on being part of their documentary! They are soon to be documenting stories on cancer survivors and are interested in including my Underwater Healer project and one of the survivors that has had their transformation documented! With one of the filmmakers currently undergoing chemotherapy themselves, it’s an extra personal project that really touches my heart. It’s a very unique project: gathering inspiring cancer survivor stories from different cultures and countries worldwide, and I am so honored to even be having conversations in being included. However my participation might end up with this project (remember - it’s very early!), its moments like these that reminds me how far the project’s awareness has come since it’s launch. Thank you to all of the survivors’ family and friends, and my own supporters, who have championed us all. And don’t forget, I’m still looking for one Asian young adult (age 20-30) cancer survivor for a piece I’m working on with NBC Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa. If this sounds like you, or someone you know who may be interested in participating in an underwater portrait shoot for NBC, please reach out...

Wigs for Kids

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As some of you may know, I just celebrated a birthday! I spent it with many people I hold dear and loved every moment of it. Thank you to every one of my family and friends who sent lovely birthday wishes or helped me celebrate. It was a wonderful day and this year is going to be the best one yet! For this birthday, I wanted to do something extra special - something that would make a difference. A friend of mine suggested I look into Wigs for Kids, an awesome organization that creates wigs for children that suffer from hair loss due to illness. Wigs and hair replacement treatment is always covered 100% at no cost to the families. There are many ways you can support a child through their organization - either through sponsoring a child’s hair replacement treatment for a year, a monetary donation or a hair donation. It’s a wonderful charity and I was so moved by their mission that I decided I would donate my own hair for a child’s wig!  See my dramatic birthday transformation below! Change is wonderful and I’m thrilled that I was able to help make a difference in a child’s life. The hairpieces and treatments Wigs for Kids obtain for children in need help boost their self-esteem and not feel self conscious about being “different”. Growing up is hard enough, and battling a difficult illness is something no child should ever have to go through. I am happy to go through my...

Inspiring Young Minds

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As you may remember, one of my resolutions for 2016, is to increase my speaking engagement frequency - and yes, still aiming for that TED Talk! I’m so excited to tell you that am speaking at not one, but two, college photography classes this month! First, I’ll be speaking at City College San Francisco in mid-April, and shortly thereafter at City College San Jose. I’m excited to share my passion with young, budding photographers. My work, and my Underwater Healer project, has evolved so much over the years. I’ve learned and grown so much. I’m excited to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned and hopefully inspire THEM to tell their own empowering stories. Hopefully this is a great opportunity for me and the students alike and that they will also find an interest in my project sharing survivor stories. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find myself leading them in a workshop because they discovered an interest in underwater photography! The possibilities are endless. I’m also happy to try out some of my new-found presentation skills and tips I learned at a public speaking workshop I attended earlier this year! I am taking my resolution very seriously and am proud at myself for accomplishing what I have so far this year. I have a few more surprises in the works that will bring me even closer to my goal. Stay tuned, only good things are...